October 3, 2021

Meet the Top Diverse Emerging Board-Ready Directors 2021: Part 1

During the Top Diverse Board-Ready judging process, the Panel (Rob Campbell, Venasio-Lorenzo Crawley and Tiana Epati) identified a small group of candidates that they considered would provide a valuable contribution of unique and different perspectives to board tables in Aotearoa in the near future.  These candidates have been named as “Emerging Directors” under this Initiative.  The Panel stated that these Emerging Directors would be exceptional with greater time to build more Governance experience to become Board-Ready. As a result, the Superdiversity Institute and the Ministry for Ethnic Communities have offered each Emerging Director the opportunity to be mentored by a member on the Top Diverse Board-Ready Director List 2021 of thier choice.

Alistair Schorn
Alistair is a Member of IoD NZ, and a specialist in sustainability and wellbeing economics. He holds a Masters in Economics and has over two decades of experience in corporate governance, strategy, integrated reporting, and independent third-party assurance. Alistair’s most recent role was as a Senior Economist at Infometrics, one of New Zealand’s leading economic consultancies. Prior to this, he was the Economic Development Advisor at Marlborough District Council. Alistair started his career at the South African National Department of Trade and Industry, an organisation similar to New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, operating in the fields of export and investment promotion. This included a three-year diplomatic posting as Trade Commissioner in the South African Consulate General in Mumbai, India. He then moved to WWF, the Worldwide Fund for Nature, where he managed an international programme promoting environmentally responsible economic development. Prior to relocating to New Zealand, Alistair spent several years consulting in the fields of corporate sustainability and extended producer responsibility, including to blue-chip and multinational corporations.

Anmar Taufeek
My name is Anmar Taufeek, your Health, Safety & Quality Integration Manager at Auckland Council. I’m a civil engineer originally from Baghdad, Iraq. I have been here for over 25 years. I’d always wanted to be an engineer since I was little as I got (and still get!) fascinated with how things are built and work, and to fulfil my passion I became a Civil Engineer. I am an experienced and focused leader with a passion for creating well integrated communities. Community service lets me build connections to people who share a common belief system and from backgrounds I would not normally meet. Community service has also served as a tool in my education. Community Service allows me to put my talents away from selfish acts and focus them in to help others. Selfishly, community service gives me a sense of gratitude and I become less stressed. It also allows for amazing networking experience and allows me to build skills in areas that wouldn’t normally be used.

Ayesha Asif
Ayesha Asif is a communications professional with a passion for working with organisations that do good for the people & the planet. She’s designed her working life to use technology effectively & reduce her carbon footprint by avoiding unnecessary travel. This means working remotely & if needed walking or predominantly using public transport. In both her professional and volunteer roles, she uses diversity as a central strategy in re-thinking existing frameworks, addressing structural challenges, and discovering opportunities for inclusion and equity. Backing the UN goal of social development for sustainable development, she’s worked with various community organisations that lift capability of minority communities. She’s been a researcher & interviewer for The Khadija Leadership Network’s ‘Our Hijrah’ project – a series of five interviews with Muslim women who’ve significantly contributed to the growth of Aotearoa, New Zealand. She is the current Secretary of the National Council of Women (Wellington Branch) where she’s a part of the Radio Show team ‘Get Woke Wellington’ that focuses on issues that women want addressed from the govt to the local level.

Bridget Leonard
Tēnā Kotou. Ko Bridget Leonard tōku ingoa. I have a background in physiotherapy and biomedical physiology and have undertaken research into the causes and prevention of hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Currently my physiology is applied to anti-doping and the protection of clean sport. I hold governance positions in health and sporting organisations including the Helensville District Health Trust (Deputy Chair), Harbour Sport Regional Sport Trust (Deputy Chair) and Canoe Slalom NZ. I am also a Director of Helensville Birthing Centre Limited. I am an advocate for excellence in governance and firmly believe that good governance allows organisations to thrive and benefits both the organisations being governed, the communities they are serving and ultimately the current and future wellbeing of Aotearoa/New Zealand. I am motivated to pursue a pathway in governance to contribute to my community in this way. I am a resident of Kaipara ki Mahurangi.

Caroline Tate
I am motivated by making things better for any organisation that I serve. I am passionate about the arts and history. I enjoy challenging established ideas and switching from a strategic perspective to considering operational implementation. The knowledge I developed during my EMBA provides me with a wholistic business outlook. I also draw upon my analytical and problem-solving skills learned during my LLB. My artistic skills learned during my Certificate in Art and Creatively help me to look at problems differently and challenge the status quo. I derive satisfaction from working with others in a Board setting to support an organisation moving forward in a positive direction. I am a people person who enjoys engaging with others

Daryn Govender
Daryn Govender is an Adviser for Performance and Corporate Relations at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand and was formerly a Senior Analyst in ASB Bank’s Corporate Strategy team. He graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in Civil Engineering and a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Auckland including study abroad at the University of Virginia. He has also completed an Asia New Zealand Foundation internship with KPMG Vietnam and a Congressional Internship at the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. Daryn is currently an elected Board of Trustees Member for Rosehill College, a Local Distribution Committee member for the Department of Internal Affairs, and Chairperson of the Wellington Young Finance Professionals Committee for the Institute of Finance Professionals in New Zealand (INFINZ). Daryn holds a Certificate in Company Direction and is a Chartered Member of the Institute of Directors in New Zealand (CMInstD).

Emma Prestidge
Hey, I’m Emma. I’m the ultimate dot connector. I am passionate about delivering positive change to make life better for other humans. I’m experienced in community engagement / project management / being a customer champion / change management / strategic thinking / storytelling / designing / facilitating. I aim to be a champion for diversity and inclusion and I am highly values-driven. I have had a diverse career history working in the Arts, Property, Healthcare, Retail and Government. The intersection of these industries is my passion for community, connection and using creativity to create positive outcomes for an organisation and its people. I graduated with a Masters Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Auckland in 2010.

Eugene Lafaele
A pragmatic natural leader with over 20 years of international and domestic trustee fiduciary expertise, providing support and advocacy in philanthropy, trusteeship, directorship and leadership.
Expert at the establishment and administration of international trusts, charities, corporate entities, partnerships, estate, succession structuring and private client wealth management. Develops and implements an innovative, growth-centred commercial strategy, focusing primarily on new product areas and emerging markets. Understands the value drivers of business and identify profitable commercial opportunities to grow revenue and market share. Commercially motivated with a sound pragmatic approach to problem-solving to provide clients and stakeholders with timely and efficient solutions. Possesses knowledge of compliance with legislation. Undertakes market research, analysis and produces strategy and recommendations to ensure that all business development opportunities are enhanced. Expert at providing resilient senior level leadership in developing, managing and championing the significant strategic initiatives of the organisation. Experienced partnership collaboration with Maori and Pasifika community groups and leaders.

Fatu Brent Fuatavai
I am a NZ born, raised & educated NZ Samoan male. Lived all my life in Onehunga. I was bestowed a High Chief title, “Tau’ili’ili”, from my mothers village in Utuali’i, Saleimoa, Apia, Samoa in 1988. I attended Onehunga High School for 5 years, Athletics Champion 4 years straight. School Prefect, Leader Polynesian group. Played (side drum, timpani & violin) in the School Orchestra. Was vice captain Rugby First XV & House Captain in my 7th Form year. Inducted into the Onehunga High Business School Hall of Fame about 20 years ago. Graduated from Auckland University with a Bachelor of Science (Mathematics) & Bachelor of Engineering (Civil & Structural) in the early 80s. Engaged at 19yrs old. Married at 21yrs old. (40year wedding anniversary end 2022.) Two adult children & 3 grandsons, another grandchild is due now. Have been a foundation member of the Onehunga Congregational Christian Church (Samoa) established in 1965. Played piano & organ at church, taught Sunday school & church choirs for over 30 years. Very involved in the Samoan culture & still a deacon at church. Have been in business for over 30 years. I currently employ over 100 people in multiple companies. Have owned Construction & design businesses, hotels, pubs etc. Done medium scale property developments up to $50m. Property Investor for over 30 years, both residential & commercial. Board member of Pacific Business Trust for 3 years in the early 2000s. Chairman of Hospitality Association (Manukau) early 2010s. Commissioner on Property Development Contributions Commission for 3 years. Chairman of the NZ Samoan Trade Investment Commission for 3 years & led its first Trade Mission to Samoa in mid 2010-20s.

Fazleen Ismail
Fazleen is a British New Zealander of Sri Lankan Muslim heritage. She is currently General Manager External Relations at the New Zealand Law Society | Te Kāhui Ture o Aotearoa and a member of the Executive Leadership Team. She has a Masters Degree from the London School of Economics and started her career as a member of the UK Government Economic Service. She then moved into management and leadership roles in in the public sector in the UK and New Zealand, joining the Law Society in 2015. An experienced leader who thrives on working collaboratively with others, Fazleen has a strong background in economics and regulation, strategy, diversity and inclusion, communications, stakeholder engagement and advocacy.

Garry Gupta
Garry is a marketing and communications consultant and an entrepreneur, with over 20 years of experience in media, marketing, management & strategy; in both India and New Zealand. He is the Founder and Chair of the Migrant Careers Support Trust. This is a non-profit charitable trust which aims to achieve social equity, inclusion and social cohesion by better economic integration of people from the ethnic communities, in the New Zealand society. Garry also sits on the board of the non-profit, Bhartiya Samaj Charitable Trust. He has been the Secretary of the India New Zealand Business Council, since 2013 and helps in running the day-to-day affairs of the Council, including events, marketing, communications and publications. Since 2015, Garry has run his own marketing agency, Media Solutions Kiwi Ltd., which provides solutions to SMEs by using various digital media, marketing tools and events. He is a specialist in marketing strategy for ethnic Indian communities. A migrant from India, Garry came to New Zealand in 2009 and started his career in the film industry. He moved to marketing and growth of some big community media brands in Auckland, covering radio, print and digital media. Prior to coming to New Zealand, he had 10 years’ experience as an executive producer in films, television and broadcast news.

Haris Murtaza
I am an Engineering Graduate growing in the field of Energy Management through a Crown sponsored graduate program. I have five years of experience in community and youth advocacy spanning ethnic, migrant, political, and youth organisations. I am currently serving as the Co-Chair of the National Islamic Youth Association (NIYA) and Ministerial Advisor to Hon. Andrew Little (Kāpuia – Ministerial Advisory Group). In the past, I have served as the President and Treasurer  of the University of Auckland Muslim Students Association, Board member of the Albert/Eden Youth Board, Regional Organiser at Young Labour, and as an advisor to The Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Attack on Christchurch Mosques. These roles have built my capacity in strategic planning, fiscal management, community engagement, leadership and enhanced my knowledge of the mechanisms and structures of Government. I am a strategic thinker with proven delivery capability, and I intend to bring these skills as well as a youth perspective to a board setting where I can apply and further strengthen my governance capacity.

Jen Deben
Jen Deben (Te Āti Haunui-a-Pāpārangi) has over 20 years of experience in the areas of regulation finance and property. She has worked for government and a variety of financial and property sector organisations in New Zealand and the United Kingdom. She is passionate about Māori organisations creating benefit for Māori, knowing that their improved performance creates benefit for all and a more equitable Aotearoa / NZ. Jen specialises in advising Māori groups on strengthening their operational effectiveness, drawing on her experience in contract fund management, financial modeling, organisational policies and best practice and regulatory analysis particularly in the provision of community and social housing.

Kanika Jhunjhnuwala
Kanika is the Executive Director of Sustainability & Environment at Sudima Hotels and a member of the Institute of Directors. She is passionate about creating impact through her personal and professional career. She loves the environment and social causes and believes in supporting community initiatives. She has a multicultural background having grown up as an Indian in Hong Kong during the British rule. She has lived in Asia, the Americas and New Zealand which gives her a unique world view to contribute to boards. She has studied physics and environmental engineering and worked on economic models to inform policy decisions in New Zealand. Her focus is now to help transform businesses to ensure they are making as much positive impact as possible. In her spare time, she enjoys rock climbing, scuba diving and tramping saying being in nature is what grounds her

Karen Roncon
Karen is the Head of Planning and Transformation at Vodafone New Zealand and during her 9 year tenure at Vodafone she has led product, marketing and customer value management teams to deliver strong customer and commercial outcomes. A senior leader within Vodafone, Karen works closely with the executive team and is known for her ability to build strong relationships and influence diverse stakeholders at all levels of the business. A skilled commercial product, marketing and programme manager Karen worked at Telstra Clear and EXL Service prior to joining Vodafone.
While born in India, Karen now calls Aotearoa home with her husband Mohit, young daughter Elliana and their puppy Ziggy. Karen was awarded the Global Vodafone ‘Women in Red’ award, that recognises inspiring women who have taken significant action to promote diversity and inclusion and are seen as role models within the organisation.